Wikipedia:Picture of the day/December 2008

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These featured pictures previously appeared (or shall appear) as Picture of the day as scheduled below. You can add the automatically updating Picture of the day to your userpage or talk page using {{pic of the day}} (text version) or {{POTD}} (short version). For instructions on how to make custom POTD layouts, see Wikipedia:Picture of the day.


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December 1 - Mon

Picture of the day
F-4 Phantom II

Four F-4 Phantom II fighter aircraft fly in formation during a demonstration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United States Air Force. First entering service in 1960, the Phantom continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft.

Photo credit: Master Sergeant Michael Ammons, USAF
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December 2 - Tue

Picture of the day
Mount Everest

The north face of Mount Everest, as seen from Tibet. Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the height of its summit above sea level, which is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time.

Photo credit: Luca Galuzzi
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December 3 - Wed

Picture of the day
Blow-fly

A close-up of the head of a blow-fly. The name blow-fly comes from an older English term for meat that had eggs laid on it, which was said to be fly blown. The first association of the term “blow” with flies was used by William Shakespeare in his plays Love's Labour's Lost, The Tempest, and Antony and Cleopatra. Blow-flies are usually the first insects to come in contact with carrion because they have the ability to detect death from up to ten miles (16 km) away.

Photo credit: Richard Bartz
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December 4 - Thu

Picture of the day
Nepalese Sadhu

A sadhu in Kathmandu, Nepal, performing a blessing. Sadhus are Hindu ascetic practitioners of yoga (yogi) who have given up pursuit of the first three Hindu goals of life: kama (enjoyment), artha (practical objectives) and even dharma (duty). The sadhu is solely dedicated to achieving moksha (liberation) through meditation and contemplation of God.

Photo credit: PICQ
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December 5 - Fri

Picture of the day
Trial by Jury

An engraved scene from the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera Trial by Jury, as illustrated in the magazine Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of 1 May 1875. This was the pair's second collaboration and the success of this launched the famous series of thirteen further works that came to be known as the Savoy operas.

Engraving credit: D. H. Friston
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December 6 - Sat

Picture of the day
Greater Yellowlegs

The Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca, juvenile shown here) is a mid-sized shorebird similar in appearance to the smaller Lesser Yellowlegs. The Greater Yellowlegs can be distinguished from the Lesser Yellowlegs by its larger size and relatively longer bill. The bill of the Greater Yellowlegs is longer than the head, while the bill of the Lesser is about the same length.

Photo credit: Alan Wilson
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December 7 - Sun

Picture of the day
Hoodoos in the Pink Cliffs

Hoodoo formation in the Pink Cliffs, a series of highly-dissected cliffs approximately 35 mi (56 km) long, in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, United States. Geologically, the cliffs are pink- and red-colored Claron Formation limestones, forming the upper riser of the Grand Staircase which descends southward to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Photo credit: Luca Galuzzi
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December 8 - Mon

Picture of the day
Prime knots

A table of prime knots, knots which are (in a certain sense) indecomposable, up to seven crossings (excluding mirror images) labelled with Alexander–Briggs notation. The unknot is not considered prime. A knot in mathematics is an embedding of a circle in 3-dimensional Euclidean space. The branch of mathematics that studies knots is known as knot theory.

Image credit: Jkasd
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December 9 - Tue

Picture of the day
Shanty town, Soweto

A shanty town on the outskirts of Soweto, South Africa. Shanty towns are settlements of impoverished people who live in improvised dwellings made from scrap plywood, corrugated metal, and sheets of plastic. Shanty towns, which are usually built on the periphery of cities, often do not have proper sanitation, electricity, or telephone services.

Photo credit: Matt-80
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December 10 - Wed

Picture of the day
Reconstruction political cartoon

A political cartoon of Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln from 1865, during the Reconstruction era of the United States, the period between 1863 and 1877 during and after the American Civil War, when the government attempted to "reconstruct" both the South and the Constitution. The cartoon is entitled "The Rail Splitter At Work Repairing the Union."

Image credit: Joseph E. Baker
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December 11 - Thu

Picture of the day
Drupe development

A six-image montage showing the development of a typical drupe, the nectarine (Prunus persica) over a 7½ month period:

  1. Bud formation (early winter)
  2. Leaves start to develop (early spring)
  3. Flowers are pollinated (early spring)
  4. After successful pollination, incipient fruit forms (mid-spring)
  5. Fruit is well developed and continues to grow (late spring)
  6. Fruit fully ripens (midsummer)

Photo credit: John O'Neill
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December 12 - Fri

Picture of the day
Golf bunker shot

A golfer uses a sand wedge to hit the ball from a green-side bunker. Also called a sand trap, a bunker is a depression near the putting green or fairway that is filled with sand. It is difficult to hit the ball out of the bunker and entering it is therefore considered punitive to a golfer who misses the target with the previous shot. After a player exits the bunker, golf etiquette requires that the area of the sand disturbed during play be raked.

Photo credit: Eric Baetscher
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December 13 - Sat

Picture of the day
Mayfly

A female subimago of a March Brown mayfly (Rhithrogena germanica). Mayflies belong to the order Ephemeroptera, and the only insects that have a subimago phase. This stage is a favourite food of many fish, and many fishing flies are modeled to resemble them. They are aquatic insects whose nymph stage usually lasts one year in freshwater. The adults are short-lived, from as little as thirty minutes to a few days depending on the species.

Photo credit: Richard Bartz
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December 14 - Sun

Picture of the day
Tank schematic

A schematic of a tank (specifically, an M1 Abrams). The three traditional factors determining a tank's effectiveness in battle are its firepower, protection, and mobility. Tank design is a compromise; it is not possible to maximize firepower, protection and mobility simultaneously.

Image credit: Doug Hatfield
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December 15 - Mon

Picture of the day
Emperor Penguin

An Emperor Penguin dives into the water somewhere in the Antarctic. Emperor Penguins, the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species, can dive as deep as 550 meters, with about 20 minutes of air in a single breath.

Photo credit: Glenn Grant, National Science Foundation
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December 16 - Tue

Picture of the day
Tunnel rat

A U.S. Army infantryman is lowered into a Viet Cong tunnel to perform an underground search and destroy mission during the Vietnam War. These soldiers, known as tunnel rats, were equipped usually only with a handgun and flashlight, and besides enemy forces, faced booby traps and natural dangers such as snakes, scorpions, spiders and insects.

Photo credit: U.S. Army Signal Corps
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December 17 - Wed

Picture of the day
Dead trees, Mammoth Hot Springs

Dead trees in the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, one of the geothermal areas of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States. These trees grew during inactivity of the mineral-rich hot springs, and were killed when calcium carbonate carried by spring water clogged the vascular systems of the trees. The same process also effectively preserves the trees by preventing decay.

Photo credit: Thegreenj
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December 18 - Thu

Picture of the day
Australian Red Cross poster

A poster for the Australian Red Cross from its earliest days, when it was established just nine days after the commencement of World War I by Lady Helen Munro-Ferguson as a branch of the British Red Cross. The organisation grew at a rapid rate. Lady Helen wrote to the mayors of every shire and municipality in Australia asking them to initiate a local branch, most of whom acted on her suggestion. By November 1914, New South Wales alone had 88 city or suburban branches and 249 country branches, all established within the previous four months.

Poster credit: David Henry Souter
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December 19 - Fri

Picture of the day

A video of a polar bear nursing in the wild. Mother polar bears nurse their cubs for as long as 30 months. The milk of polar bear mothers is very fat-rich. As a cub grows older the frequency of nursing decreases.

Video credit: Mila Zinkova
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December 20 - Sat

Picture of the day
Pegnitz River

A photochrom postcard (circa 1900) of the Pegnitz River, a short (115 km or 71.5 mi) river in Franconia, Germany, as it passes through Nuremberg. The domed synagogue that can be seen in the background was destroyed in 1938 as part of the persecution of Jews by the Third Reich.

Postcard credit: Detroit Publishing Co.
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December 21 - Sun

Picture of the day
Episyrphus balteatus

A female marmalade fly (Episyrphus balteatus), a relatively small hoverfly (9–12 mm), visiting a flower for pollen. This is one of a very few species of insects capable of crushing pollen grains and feeding on them.

Photo credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar
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December 22 - Mon

Picture of the day
Olympus Mons

A composite image of Olympus Mons on Mars, the tallest known volcano and mountain in the Solar System. This image was created from black-and-white imagery from the USGS's Mars Global Digital Image Mosaic and color imagery acquired from the 1978 visit of Viking 1.

Image credit: United States Geological Survey
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December 23 - Tue

Picture of the day
Phoenix, Arizona, in 1885

An 1885 lithograph of a bird's-eye view of the city of Phoenix, Arizona, the fifth-most-populous city in the United States. The city was founded in 1868 on the site of lands formerly occupied by the Hohokam, who had abandoned the area roughly 400 years earlier. The name "Phoenix" was chosen as it described a city born from the ruins of a former civilization.

Image credit: C. J. Dyer
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December 24 - Wed

Picture of the day
C-17 Globemaster III

A squadron of C-17 Globemaster III airlifter aircraft on a low level tactical training mission over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The C-17 Globemaster III is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward bases anywhere in the world. The aircraft carries on the name of two previous United States cargo aircraft, the C-74 Globemaster and the C-124 Globemaster II.

Photo credit: SSgt. Jacob N. Bailey, USAF
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December 25 - Thu

Picture of the day
Reindeer

A late nineteenth-century photochrom of a reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia. Reindeer have been herded for centuries by several Arctic and Subarctic people including the Sami and the Nenets. They are raised for their meat, hides, antlers and, to a lesser extent, for milk and transportation.

Image credit: Detroit Publishing Co.
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December 26 - Fri

Picture of the day
Ivory-billed Woodpecker

A hand-colored engraving of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), a very large member of the woodpecker family Picidae native to the Southern United States. This species is officially listed as an endangered species, but by the end of the 20th century had widely been considered extinct. Sightings in Arkansas in 2004 and 2005 were followed by evidence for existence in Florida in 2006, but conclusive evidence of a population of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, in the form of unambiguous photographs/videos, specimens, or DNA from feathers, has not been forthcoming.

Image credit: John James Audubon
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December 27 - Sat

Picture of the day
Saint-Chély-du-Tarn

View over the cirque of Pougnadoire and the village of Saint-Chély-du-Tarn (in the department of Lozère in France), in the Tarn Gorges, from the cirque of Saint-Chély. This picture features the road D 907bis which goes alongside the Tarn River all along the gorges.

Photo credit: Benh Lieu Song
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December 28 - Sun

Picture of the day
Roasted coffee beans

Natural roasted coffee beans. Green coffee beans are first roasted (which makes them turn brown), and then ground in the process of making coffee. The roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavor of coffee by causing the green coffee beans to expand and to change in color, taste, smell and density. Unroasted beans contain similar acids, protein, and caffeine as those that have been roasted, but lack the taste.

Photo credit: MarkSweep
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December 29 - Mon

Picture of the day
Goat kid

A 2-month old domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) kid in a field of capeweed. Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species. For thousands of years, goats have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world. Female goats are referred to as does or nannies, intact males as bucks or billies; their offspring are kids.

Photo credit: Fir0002
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December 30 - Tue

Picture of the day
Large Bee Fly

The Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major) is a bee mimic, squat and very hairy, 14 to 18 mm in length and a wingspan around 24 mm. Adults feed by means of their very long proboscises on the nectar of many species of flower. The species is widely distributed throughout the whole northern hemisphere and in North Africa, and is very well known.

Photo credit: Richard Bartz
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December 31 - Wed

Picture of the day
Champagne Pool

Champagne Pool is a prominent geothermal feature within the Wai-O-Tapu area in the Waikato region of New Zealand. The name is derived from the abundant efflux of carbon dioxide similar to gas bubbles in a glass of bubbling Champagne. The orange color originates from deposits of arsenic and antimony sulfides.

Photo credit: Christian Mehlführer
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